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Crivitz High Students Plans Chemistry Career

Issue Date: May 31, 2017

Bill Nye was a favorite science teacher for David Neering of Crivitz. Nye's popular educational series made science accessible.

Neering decided that after completing a physical science course his freshman year, that his career focus became more refined after taking a year of chemistry as a sophomore. He wanted to work with chemicals and make reactions happen for a living.

At the same time Neering was thinking about his career path, the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction called for full implementation of their Academic and Career Planning (ACP) requirements by all school districts. The Crivitz School chose to implement a required job shadow for juniors as part of their ACP requirements.

Daren Sommerfeldt, Business Education teacher, is leading the job shadowing effort in Crivitz, using his business connections to find the right fit for students. Students fill out career surveys with the guidance counselor and he reviews them. Neering is his sole chemist.

Sommerfeldt contacted ChemDesign, in Marinette, to see if Brian Bourgeois, Employee Development Manager, would offer his student an opportunity to get a feel for the process and careers involved in chemistry. Bourgeois had experience with college job shadow programs, but not high school. Their approach was to treat the opportunity the same, providing Neering the opportunity to meet with process chemists and lab technicians.

Within a week of the call, Neering was touring the ChemDesign campus, meeting with Roman Leiser, a process chemist and graduate of St. Norbert College. Leiser's work environment looked like what Neering had expected of a chemist's laboratory, complete with Erlenmeyer Flasks and precise scales.

His tour of the quality control lab was a completely new experience. It felt more industrialized, with specific areas devoted to different types of analysis. Mindy Doubek, QC Laboratory Manager, showed him the melting point of compounds. Until that day, he had never seen a chemical test like that before. Neering also had never seen the full scale production at a chemical plant. He was "blown away' by the big the reactors, capable of multi-step synthesis processes.

With his valuable job shadow experience completed with ChemDesign, Neering feels confident in his plans after high school graduation. The active junior, who works 35 hours a week at McDonalds, along with participating in school forensics, quiz bowl and cheer squad, will complete his pre-requisite courses at UW-Green Bay and will transfer to Madison to finish his degree in chemistry.


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